The University of the West Indies (UWI) and The State University of New York (SUNY) have launched the SUNY UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development on 20 September 2016, at the SUNY Global Center in New York. The Center will build on areas identified in previous UWI–SUNY analyses while also including research relevant to democratic participation, leadership, and governance, with a focus on solutions to specific problems constraining the achievement of the United Nation’s sustainable development goals, and also focus on serving groups that have faced barriers to equal opportunities.
“SUNY’s new partnership with The UWI represents an important milestone in our ongoing conversations about educating and empowering students and faculty in order to make substantial advances in the areas of leadership and sustainable human development,” said SUNY Board Chairman H Carl McCall. “Our partnership is all the more exciting when you consider the positive impact and practical benefits the application of our research, academic programs, teaching, and learning will have for our students and faculty, as well as the millions of people in the Caribbean, the Caribbean diaspora in New York, and beyond. We are proud to advance our mutual goals with The UWI and I thank Sir Hilary for his continued passion and leadership.”
UWI Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles said: “Both The UWI and SUNY have agreed that a Center of this nature is required to provide innovative solutions to the underlying problems that ultimately constrain the achievement of sustainable human development in the wider Caribbean and in the urban areas of New York State, in which there is a substantial Caribbean diaspora that is served by SUNY. This initiative is part of the program of international engagement that enables The UWI to play an active developmental role among the wider Caribbean community.”
UWI Chancellor Sir George Alleyne said, “My warmest congratulations on this path-breaking initiative which is a part of The UWI’s global agenda which focuses here on a more active, supportive and developmental role that embraces the Caribbean community and diaspora. It will provide some of that essential leadership training and research needed by the wider Caribbean as it prepares to meet the new sustainable development goals.”
At the Center, joint teams of UWI and SUNY expert teams will take a multi-disciplinary approach and draw on external expertise as appropriate to advance the following goals:
- Creation of a master’s program in leadership and sustainable development,
- Solutions-oriented research,
- Student advocacy and mobilization of the Caribbean diaspora,
- Establishment of an expert network, and
- Facilitation of a think tank.
The Center will be governed by an advisory board consisting of academic experts, foundation and development professionals and administrative leaders from The UWI and SUNY. It will begin operations at 325 Hudson Street in Manhattan, one of SUNY Empire State College’s 3 New York City locations.
The concept for the Center has garnered strong support from the Commonwealth and the Caribbean Community (Caricom).
Commonwealth Secretary General the RT Hon Patricia Scotland QC said, “I commend the vision and commitment to serving the practical needs of the people of the Caribbean — whether at home or in the diaspora — that has led to the SUNY UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development. Commonwealth citizens from the Caribbean, and from other Small Island Developing States, will derive lasting benefit from this partnership project, and the focus it brings to the human development needs of our people, wherever they live, learn or work. In this year when we celebrate ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’ it is good to see The UWI continuing to play an active and innovative developmental role for the benefit of the wider Caribbean community.”